Do you offer Tooth Whitening?
Yes, we do! We offer a range of different whitening treatments, classified into two broad groups:
- In-Clinic Whitening, which generally gives a nice bright result quickly. This treatment is carried out in dental chair using ‘dentist only’ whitening gels activated by LED light.
- Take-Home Whitening, which generally gives a subtler, more gradual- but still pleasing- whitening result. This is achieved outside the clinic with less concentrated ‘take home’ whitening gel and without LED activation.
All of our ‘In-Clinic’ whitening systems come with a complimentary take-home ‘starter kit’.
In-Clinic Whitening Options
We currently offer two In-Clinic treatments:
i.) ‘Zoom’ (2hrs)
This is the whitening system was made famous in the early noughties by the reality TV show ‘Extreme Makeover’. It is generally our most popular and successful whitening treatment. With some 15 years of experience with this technique our team can confidently advise if this treatment is suitable for you. Current fee for this treatment is $750. This could be considered our ‘premium’ or ‘gold standard’ tooth whitening option.
ii.) ‘Pola-Office’ (90mins)
This Australian-made product is a budget friendly alternative to ‘Zoom’. The end-results from ‘Pola’ are comparable to ‘Zoom’ in most cases, but the whitening effect may take some days to reach its peak-whiteness (whereas ‘Zoom’ tends to take effect immediately), and may require some additional supplementary ‘home-whitening’.
Due to the ‘delayed’ whitening effect of ‘Pola’, many patients report less tooth sensitivity with this product than ‘Zoom’.
Your hygienist will be able to recommend the best product for you.
Current fee for ‘Pola’ is $550.
At-Home Whitening (two-six weeks)
At home whitening involves fabricating a custom-made set of mouthguards or ‘whitening trays’ that can be used at-home to self-apply whitening gels. The gels used come in a variety of concentrations depending on an individual’s needs. Generally speaking, more concentrated gels can achieve a whiter result in shorter time, albeit with possible increased risk of temporary tooth sensitivity. Our team will recommend the best gel for you based on your personal needs.
At-home systems generally take a little longer to work, and provide a more subtle improvement in tooth colour than the ‘in-clinic’ options. Fees for at-home whitening range from $30 to $3005 depending on the nature of treatment required, and whether you already have accurately fitting whitening trays or not.
Does It Work?
Yes. While results vary between patients, generally speaking all patients experience some improvement in the shade of their natural teeth. However it is important to note that:
a.) Some start- shades respond better than others (yellow/brown stained teeth respond better than those with grey/black stained teeth).
b.) Some teeth may require additional whitening treatments to get a good result (for instance, root canal treated teeth usually require whitening agents to be placed inside the tooth, rather than on the tooth surface.
c.) Crowns/ bridges and false teeth will not whiten with these systems.
If, for whatever reason, your first whitening attempt doesn’t give you the result you want, our team can assist with other options.
How does it work?
The whitening solutions use oxidizing agents (hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide) that breaks down large dark molecules that stain teeth into smaller, lighter coloured compounds, in a similar manner in which hair colour can be lightened by the application of peroxide at the hairdresser.
Will it damage my teeth?
When used appropriately under the direction of your dental health care professional there is no evidence to suggest that tooth whitening is harmful. However, whitening may not be suitable for every patient and it is important to discuss with your provider your individual case and any safety concerns you may have. All our whitening products are TGA approved.
How long does it take?
In-chair treatments range from 90min (Pola Office) to 2hours (Zoom). Patients do not need to keep their mouth open this whole time, however. Special cheek and lip retractors are used to provide space for the whitening agents to access the teeth. Patients can keep their mouth closed and teeth together for the full treatment. (It’s actually quite relaxing!)
The ‘Take-home’ kit can be used as often as necessary, usually for two-to-six weeks at a time with results usually visible in just a few days.
Does it Hurt?
Some patients can experience tooth sensitivity from whitening. This is more likely to occur with In-Clinic systems but can occur with the take-home kit as well. The sensitivity can be quite unpleasant but is very short lasting. Typically this sensitivity is intermittent and is often described as short sharp ‘zings’ of pain that disappear fairly quickly. These ‘zingers’ may occur on and off for a few hours or so after treatment has finished. More often than not, patient’s report that the sensitivity was worth the result.
Some patients feel no sensitivity at all.
If you have naturally sensitive teeth, a ‘pre-whitening de-sensitisation programme’ can assist you to have a comfortable whitening experience.
Sensitivity can be prevented by:
a.) Gentle tooth brushing, preferably with a soft electric brush, both before and after your whitening treatment
b.) Avoiding very cold or highly acidic foods (like citrus fruits or wine) for 12hrs+ after your whitening procedure
c.) Using tooth desensitizing agents like ‘Tooth Mousse’ before and after your whitening.
d.) If its been a while since your last scale and clean, book one in two weeks before your tooth whitening (whitening straight after a clean can sometimes be tender)
Is it Permanent? How long does it last?
Generally speaking the whitening result should be considered ‘long lasting’ but not necessarily permanent. Immediately after tooth whitening the shade is usually at it’s brightest, then gradually darkens over time, usually stabilising at a colour brighter than it was initially.
Will it look natural? I don’t want it looking TOO white……
Our whitening treatments always provide a natural looking white result without making you look like Shane Warne (apologies Warnie!). Because we are ‘enhancing’ what is already naturally there, our results always look natural. The ‘Picket-White Fence’ or ‘Perfect Hollywood Smile’ is something we can provide for you if you so desire, but tooth whitening may not be the way to do it. Our team can show you before and after photos to demonstrate the natural results we can achieve.
How often will I need to get it re-done?
It varies between individuals. While the teeth will not maintain their immediate post-whitening whitening result indefinitely, they will often stay lighter than the original shade for extended periods of time. It can be touched up with the home-care kit as required, and the whitening can be repeated under the dentist’s direction as per patient’s desires. It’s not unusual for motivated patients to repeat their ‘Zoom’ whitening every 2-3 years or so.
What can I do to keep my smile white?
You can prolong the life of your newly whitened smile by:
i.) Thorough and gentle tooth brushing, at least 2x/day, preferably with a soft electric brush.
ii.) Limit smoking, tea, coffee and ‘tooth staining’ foods
iii.) Maintain regular dental check-ups for professional tooth cleaning (every six months is most common)
iv.) Use a whitening toothpaste (under your clinicians direction)
v.) Use the touch up ‘home whitening kit’ as required
vi.) Consider re-whitening with an in-clinic product as required (perhaps every few years)
vii.) Floss! Floss! Floss! Floss! Floss!
Will it work on my fillings and crowns?
Generally not. Fillings and crowns do not respond as well (if at all) to the whitening agents discussed above. However, this may not be as big a problem as you might think.
For any given patient, there are naturally occurring differences in tooth colour between different teeth and within an individual tooth. For instance, canine or ‘eye teeth’ are usually a little darker than the teeth next to them, and all teeth are generally a little darker around the gum line than at the biting edge. These subtle colour differences help make a smile look ‘natural’ rather than the ‘white picket fence’ look that most people try to avoid.
When you have your teeth whitened, everything natural (light and dark shades) tends to ‘whiten’, but the subtle differences in shade are maintained. With this in mind, the odd filling or crown that perhaps isn’t exactly the same colour as everything else tends to ‘blend in’ given that there are subtle colour differences within and between all the teeth anyway.
Having said that- if old dental work does look out of place after whitening, it can always be replaced.
Our team can usually predict ahead of time (at your whitening consult) if we suspect your existing dental work may provide problems post-whitening.
How long before I can eat and drink after whitening?
After the whitening procedures teeth can become quite porous and are prone to accumulating food stain. They’re also more susceptible to sensitivity.
We recommend avoiding any foods that would stain a white shirt or cause tooth sensitivity for at least 12-24hrs after whitening. This includes ‘staining foods’ such as tea, coffee, red-wine, beer, gravy, tomato sauce and curry; as well as ‘sensitive foods’ like ice-cream, citrus fruits, carbonated drinks, wine, ice-cubes etc.
Common sense prevails, however. If you are able to tolerate eating ice-cream without causing any pain- then it’s OK to eat it. Likewise, if you can drink your coffee through a straw rather than splashing it over the porous teeth, you can probably allow yourself that caffeine hit!
You can also ‘block up’ the porosities in your teeth and reduce your risk of staining and sensitivity by using products such as Tooth Mousse.
Will my health insurance cover it?
Every health insurer is different, and while some insurers will provide rebates for whitening services (ranging from $80 to $450), others may not. Ask our team about your specific insurer and we’d be happy to give you an estimate.
Can I buy a gift voucher for someone?
Yes you can…. But it’s a bit more complicated than just issuing a voucher. Whitening is a medical procedure and as such anyone considering it needs to consult with a trained practitioner to assess their individual suitability for whitening treatment. What we would suggest is to contact our whitening team, explain what you’d like to do and what your budget is. We can present you with a gift certificate that can be redeemed once we’ve confirmed the patient is suitable. These certificates will of course be refundable should, for whatever reason, whitening not be an appropriate treatment.
I’m getting married….. When’s the best time to get my teeth whitened?
Plan ahead! Make sure you’re suitable for whitening well and truly in advance of the big day. If you have untreated dental disease this needs to be treated before you can responsibly consider whitening. Ideally you’d get your teeth checked at least three-to-six months before the big day.
If all your other dental needs are taken care of, generally we’d recommend the ideal time to be whitening is approximately two weeks before the big event.
What other alternatives are available?
Teeth Cleaning and Polishing
Sometimes what appears to be the most severe looking stains are often not related to the tooth colour at all. For instance, professional tooth clean and polishing/ replacement of old restorations may improve the shade of teeth without even needing to have them whitened.
Veneers/ Bondings and Crowns
If whitening is ineffective or not likely to achieve the results that a patient or dentist desires, sometimes one may opt to cover or ‘veneer’ the darkened tooth with a false tooth. This approach typically gives a much greater control over colour and shape of the teeth, and generally gives the most predictable result.
Sometimes (but not always) teeth need to be ‘trimmed down’ to allow the veneer or crown to fit over the darkened tooth. This is not always an appropriate course of care for every patient, and the advantages/ disadvantages of this approach need to be discussed with the dentist.
Materials used include white plastic or ‘composite’ or ceramic/porcelain. Typically ceramic gives a better result, is longer lasting and a little more expensive (ranging from $1100-$1590 per tooth). Plastic veneers start at $295 per tooth.